The advent of DNA sequencing has given scientists a clearer understanding of the interconnectedness of evolution and the reticular pathways by which different organisms divide, divide and regroup. Tony Capra, associate professor of biological sciences, has drawn new conclusions on the influence of Neanderthal DNA on certain genetic characteristics of modern humans.
The journal published an article “Gene introgression of Neanderthals reintroduced ancestral functional alleles lost in Eurasian populations”
The ancestors of all modern humans lived on the entire African continent. Until about 100,000 years ago, some humans decided to venture further afield. Neanderthals are extinct relatives of modern humans and have long lived in Europe and Central and South Asia. Their ancestors had immigrated 700,000 years ago. Humans who migrated to Central Asia and the Middle East met and reproduced with Neanderthals. Neanderthal DNA exists in some modern humans, and current research shows that sometimes this can be a good thing.
“When Neanderthals separated from a population 700,000 years ago, they carried some specific genetic variants. Some of these genetic variants later disappeared in humans. We proved that the Hybridization restores hundreds of thousands of genetic variants previously lost,” Capra said. “These reintroduced genetic variants are more likely to have a positive impact than the genetic variants unique to Neanderthals.”
In fact, these reintroduced variants may help regulate the negative characteristics associated with Neanderthal DNA, including autoimmune and neuropsychiatric diseases and addiction risk. Understanding how genetics changes risk is essential to understanding the function and development of diseases.
The first author of the study, postdoctoral scholar David Link, said: “Through this study, we have discovered a unique set of very ancient genetic variants that predate Neanderthals, but may make the Neanderthal Fragments of Andetian DNA are retained in modern human DNA.” In Capra’s laboratory. “Pointing out when those alleles (that is, the variant forms of genes) originated in the human timeline provides an evolutionary perspective for genetic variation to keep modern humans healthy, and has broad implications for the evolution of disease risk factors.”
The Capra Lab used data from the 1,000 Genome Project and the Neanderthal Genome Project, two open projects that document genetic variation in detail. The researchers worked with Emily Hodges, assistant professor of biochemistry, to perform functional anatomy of Neandertal and human DNA to determine which variants have functional effects. Capra pointed out: “This analysis provides physical evidence for our hypothesis.” “It is a blueprint for large-scale analysis of this type, because we have demonstrated the impact of these reintroduced genetic variations at the molecular level.”
How the genetic “handbook” differences between humans and Neanderthals affect traits
David C. Rinker et al. The introgression of Neanderthals reintroduced the ancestral function alleles that were lost in the Eurasian population. Natural ecology and evolution (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41559-020-1261-z
Courtesy of Vanderbilt University
Citation: Neanderthal DNA contributes to genetic diversity and enables people to learn more about human evolution (August 3, 2020). The technology was launched from https://phys.com on August 3, 2020. org/news/2020-08-neanderthal-dna-contributes-genetic-diversity.html
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